Fourth and fifth new human cases of avian influenza H5N1 in Cambodia in 2013

Joint news release of the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Cambodia and World Health Organization

The Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Kingdom of Cambodia wishes to advise members of the public that two new more cases of avian influenza has been confirmed positive for the H5N1 virus.

The fourth case is a 17-month-old girl from Prey Nheat village, Prey Nheat commune, Kong Pisey district in Kampong Speu province has been diagnosed with H5N1 influenza on 26th January 2013 by Institut Pasteur du Cambodge. She developed symptoms on 13th January 2013 with fever, cough, runny nose, and vomiting. She was initially treated by local private practitioners. Her condition worsened and she was admitted to Kantha Bopha Hospital on 17th January with fever, cough, somnolence, and dyspnoea. Unfortunately, despite intensive medical care, she died on 28th January. There is evidence of recent deaths among poultry in the village and the girl had history of coming into contact with poultry prior to becoming sick.

In the fifth case, a 9-year-old girl from Thmei village, Thmei commune, Toeuk Chhou district, Kampot province has been diagnosed with H5N1 influenza on 28th January 2013 by Institut Pasteur du Cambodge. She became sick on 19th January, 2013 suffering with fever and cough. She was initially treated by local private practitioners. Her condition worsened and she was admitted to Kantha Bopha Hospital with fever cough, somnolence and dyspnoea on 27th January. Despite intensive medical care, the patient died on 28th January. There is evidence of recent deaths among poultry in the village. This girl is the twenty-six person in Cambodia to become infected with H5N1 virus, and the fifth person this year and the twenty-three person to die from complications of the disease. Of all the twenty six cases, 17 were children under 14, and seventeen of the twenty six confirmed cases occurred in females.

"Avian influenza H5N1 is still a threat to the health of Cambodians. This is the fourth and the fifth cases of H5N1 infection in human in early this year, and children still seem to be most vulnerable. I urge parents and guardians to keep children away from sick or dead poultry, discourage them from playing in areas where poultry stay and wash their hands often. If they have fast or difficulty breathing, they should be brought to medical attention at the nearest health facilities and attending physicians be made aware of any exposure to sick or dead poultry." said HE Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health.

The Ministry of Health's Rapid Response Teams (RRT) have gone to the hospitals and the field to identify the patient’s close contacts, any epidemiological linkage among the three cases and initiate preventive treatment as required. In addition, public health education campaigns are being conducted in the villages to inform families on how to protect themselves from contracting avian influenza. The government's message is - wash hands often; keep children away from poultry; keep poultry away from living areas; do not eat sick poultry; and all poultry eaten should be well cooked.

H5N1 influenza is a flu that normally spreads between sick poultry, but it can sometimes spread from poultry to humans. Human H5N1 Avian Influenza is a very serious disease that requires hospitalization. Although the virus currently does not easily spread among humans, if the virus changes it could easily be spread like seasonal influenza. Hence, early recognition of cases is important.

Globally since 2003, there have been 615 laboratory confirmed cases of avian influenza with 364 related deaths.

The Ministry of Health will continue to keep the public informed of developments via the MoH website www.cdcmoh.gov.kh where relevant health education materials can also be downloaded.

For more information on human influenza please call the MoH Influenza Hotline numbers: 115 (free call); 012 488 981 or 089 669 567

Or contact:

Ministry of Health
Dr Sok Touch: Tel +855 12 856 848
Dr Ly Sovann: Tel +855 12 825 424

World Health Organization
Dr Pieter JM van Maaren: Tel +855 23 216 610
Dr Reiko Tsuyuoka: Tel +855 23 216 610

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